Superintendent’s Message – Indoor Mask Update – March 3

Friday, March 4th, 2022 - Posted in All District News COVID District Communications

March 3, 2022

 

Dear PUSD Community,

On Monday, the state of California issued new guidance regarding its indoor masking mandate  for K-12 schools, moving from a requirement to a “strong recommendation” to mask in indoor school settings effective at 12:00am, March 12. Today, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) announced it will align with the state’s guidelines (read additional statement from Alameda County Office of Education). As I have previously stated, the District’s intent is to align with state and county guidelines in regards to masking. Therefore, I am announcing today that effective Monday, March 14, PUSD will enter into a mask-optional environment for students and staff in our classrooms, regardless of vaccination status.

According to ACPHD…‘Since the peak of the Omicron surge in January, cases have come down significantly overall as well as in highly impacted communities, and hospitalizations are well below their peak. When there are fewer cases, there is less virus circulating, making it safer to adopt changes to the strictest COVID restrictions.’ I believe Piedmont has been ahead of the curve since the start of the pandemic, providing a fine example to the County of what can be accomplished when a community works together to keep its residents safe. That hard work is now showing results.

While these developments will be welcomed news for some, I have heard from others who are concerned that now is not the time to take the masks off. I understand the anxiety that exists and respect the decisions families will now have to make. I remind our community that while masks will no longer be required indoors, they remain strongly recommended. Anyone wishing to continue wearing a mask indoors or out is absolutely permitted and encouraged to do so. The individual choices of our students and staff will always be respected and supported.

In addition, the safety policies of our District will remain in place.  We will continue to adhere to our layered practices in our classrooms, including ventilation measures and cleaning protocols. We will continue to track positive COVID cases across the District and maintain our dashboard with weekly updates. We will keep our testing facilities open for students and staff as long as they are needed and provide resources wherever and whenever necessary. I will be meeting with the District’s Health & Safety Steering Committee next Wednesday for additional feedback from our local health professionals. While the masks may now be optional, the District’s commitment to safety on our campuses is not. 

While I’m encouraged that the momentum seems to be moving in the right direction, there are still challenges ahead as we enter into this transition period. I once again find myself so thankful to be a part of this community that has made itself a model for the Bay Area and nation. I thank you all for everything you have given and sacrificed over the past two years to get us to where we are today. I will provide additional updates and information as we move closer to the 14th. Please contact my office with any questions.

Sincerely, 

Randall Booker

Superintendent

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